Memorial Day Weekend

Arlington National Cemetary

Arlington National Cemetary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Memorial Day is tomorrow. Unfortunately, for me, the most significant aspect of this weekend and the preceding week leading up to it is that it is one of the weekends of horror. I have been working 10-12 hours every day this week, including today.

Memorial Day first started to be observed after the Civil War. That war was the bloodiest in American history and the casualties of that war were unprecedented. The number of killed and wounded in the three previous declared wars, the War of Independence, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War, were insignificant compared to the slaughter house that the Civil War became. After the war people in both the North and South began to commemorate the soldiers who died for their country. The date of this commemoration varied throughout the country until it settled on May 30.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill. This law moved the dates of four holidays, including Memorial Day, to the nearest Monday in order to create three-day weekends. This, I think, was unfortunate. I believe that converting the day on which we honor our fallen heroes into a long weekend tends to diminish the significance of this day. It becomes no more that day to take off work and for businesses to have sales. There should be more to Memorial Day.

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5 Responses to “Memorial Day Weekend”

  1. Justin Hoffer Says:

    I’ve noticed that Americans in general aren’t as serious about honouring their heroes, and I really don’t know why. In Israel on Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaShoah, the air raid sirens sound and the whole country comes to a halt for several minutes. Even on the major highways, everyone stops their cars, and most get out and stand silently at attention.

    In Canada, November 11th is Remembrance Day, commemorating the end of WWI and all Canadians who fought and died for freedom around the world. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, radio stations and every local TV station has two minutes of silence. Many people watch the Remembrance Day ceremony held at Parliament, either in person or on TV, many others go to one of dozens or even hundreds of ceremonies throughout their city, in schools, churches, legions, military bases, convention centres.

    While I know the right wing base is generally better, it seems to me that the average American really doesn’t honour their heroes in the way they deserve.

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